The Book of Disquiet

The Book of Disquiet

Paperback Serpent's Tail Classics

By (author) Fernando Pessoa, Translated by Margaret Jull Costa, Introduction by William Boyd

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  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 22mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 18 January 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846687357
  • ISBN 13: 9781846687358
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 6,056

Product description

Sitting at his desk, Bernardo Soares imagined himself free forever of Rua dos Douradores, of his boss Vasques, of Moreira the book-keeper, of all the other employees, the errand boy, the post boy, even the cat. But if he left them all tomorrow and discarded the suit of clothes he wears, what else would he do? Because he would have to do something. And what suit would he wear? Because he would have to wear another suit. A self-deprecating reflection on the sheer distance between the loftiness of his feelings and the humdrum reality of his life, The Book of Disquiet is a classic of existentialist literature.

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Author information

Fernando Pessoa, one of the founders of modernism, was born in Lisbon in 1888. He grew up in Durban, South Africa, where his stepfather was Portuguese consul. He returned to Lisbon in 1905 and worked as a clerk in an import-export company until his death in 1935. Most of Pessoa's writing was not published during his lifetime; The Book of Disquiet first came out in Portugal in 1982. Since its first publication, it has been hailed as a classic.

Review quote

In a time which celebrates fame, success, stupidity, convenience and noise, here is the perfect antidote -- John Lanchester Daily Telegraph A meandering, melancholic series of reveries and meditations. Pessoa's amazing personality is as beguiling and mysterious as his unique poetic output -- William Boyd Disturbs from beginning to end... There is a distinguished mind at work beneath the totally acceptable dullness of clerking. The mind is that of Pessoa. We must be given the chance to learn more about him -- Anthony Burgess Observer A complete masterpiece, the sort of book one makes friends with and cannot bear to be parted with. Boredom informs it, but not boringly. Pessoa loved the minutiae of what we care to deem the ordinary life, and that love enriches and deepens his art -- Paul Bailey Independent The very book to read when you wake at 3am and can't get back to sleep - mysteries, misgivings, fears and dreams and wonderment. Like nothing else. -- Philip Pullman Fernando Pessoa was simply one of the best 20th-century writers ever... captivating... a series of beautifully wistful reminiscences, diary entries ad aphoristic snippets... an accessibly slimmed down and beautifully translated version of this great classic and we recommend it like crazy. Pick one up and open it anywhere and we promise you'll be richly rewarded. -- Stuart Hammond Dazed and Confused To read and then contemplate him is to be lifted a little bit above the earth in a floating bubble. One becomes both of the world and not of it. There's no one like him, apart from all of us. -- Nicholas Lezard Guardian An odd, occasionally exasperating and sometimes beautiful book and one that will be your friend at 3am on a sleepless night. -- Sophia Martelli Observer